In the future, it seems no-one will want to play word games or test their general knowledge on TV quiz games, instead they'll want blood. Tracker, like Arnie's recent film The Running Man is a futuristic gameshow where the winner stays alive.
The aim behind the game is the neutralize the correct rooms inside a large maze-like network of tunnels. You fly a posse of six skimmer-like planes that have to zip up and down the passages in search of intersections which conceal pods that need to be shot to make the area safe.
You are not alone inside the world of bland, twisting, turning tunnels and random polygon explosions. A map can be called up at any time showing the locations of all the pods and all the enemy ships. Enemy ships race everywhere with the intent of shooting you down.
The tunnels are viewed as hidden-line perspective view vectors, and all the objects in the game (ships, pods, bullets) are filled vectors, as in many of the recent Rainbird products (Starglider 2, Carrier Command). Why the tunnels aren't filled in a mystery - possibly it was done for the sake of speed, but if so, it hasn't done the job. The game is still, unfortunately, very slow at times, especially when the enemy are on screen.
The game is definitely easier to play with the mouse, but even so, practice is still needed if you don't want to go careering off every bend you come across. Controls are fairly simple. Just point the plane in the direction you want to fly and press down on the accelerator. Even so, it can be very hard to get round some of the s-bends.
Funnily enough despite Tracker's lack of speed, it's amazingly absorbing. First impressions of the game aren't so hot, but within fifteen minutes of sitting down you'll be embroiled in a sweat-inducing dogfight through the twisting tunnels with an alien, which, believe me, will enable you to forget many of the game's flaws. You'll be far too busy trying to get to the next pod without being shot down by the aliens which tail you and match your every move.
Tracker is really very good. It takes an effort to get into, but once you do, you don't be disappointed. It isn't in the same league as Carrier Command or Starglider II, but then again few games are.